Independent developers hoping to gain some traction on Microsoft’s Xbox One console aren’t too happy with some of the news that’s been coming out about the new system. According to a post on Shacknews, indie developers won’t make it onto Xbox LIVE Arcade without striking a deal with Microsoft Studios or a third-party publisher.
The news comes from Microsoft’s Matt Booty, the general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, who said that, yes, independent studios must find publishing deals to get their games onto the Xbox One. “We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have,” he said.
Now, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for indie game devs—at least those who manage to work out publishing deals. A Eurogamer interview with Microsoft corporate VP reveals that the new console’s game marketplace will do away with the “ghetto” of indie games as it currently exists on the Xbox 360, meaning that Xbox LIVE Arcade (XBLA) games and Xbox LIVE Indie Games (XBLIG) won’t be funneled into separate channels. They’ll simply all be “games.”
Take it away, Phil:
“In the past we had retail games which came on disc, we had Xbox Live Arcade and we had Indie Games, and they had their own discrete channels or discrete silos. With Xbox One and the new marketplace, they’re games. […]Search, recommendation, what your friends are playing, game DVR – these all go to helping you discover the games you want to play, so I think we solve fantastically some of the challenges that independent developers face, particularly around discovery and connecting their game to an audience, by some of the platform features we have in the machine itself.”
So, independent developers still have a shot at getting some major visibility on Xbox One—but, again, only after they manage to find a publisher to make a deal with Microsoft, or to make that deal with Microsoft’s publishing arm directly. On the other hand, the Shacknews post points out that Sony’s PS4, Nintendo’s Wii U, and, of course, Steam on the PC are all still havens for self-publishing independent games.